The Emet Leaders Fellowship is a twelve-week study program featuring small-group learning with a dedicated mentor. Hosted by a number of NYS universities, including Stony Brook, the inspiration and motto of Emet is that if a student wants to represent the Jewish people, they must know what the Jewish people represent. The Fellowship program is designed to introduce Torah concepts in an accessible, often text-based, and stimulating format. Students meet weekly and enjoy varied dinners while exploring new topics together. Guest speakers from all over the NYC area enhance our weekly learning sessions. Emet Fellows also attend regular Shabbatons, or all-inclusive Shabbat experiences hosted by different Jewish communities. Shabbatons provide an extraordinary blend of intellectual stimulation and emotional inspiration. Upon successful completion of the Fellowship program, students have the opportunity to participate in Emet’s Israel experiences during the summer and college mid-winter breaks. The Stony Brook Emet program also offers the opportunity to interact closely and learn in one-on-one settings with qualified Torah scholars about any topics in Judaism that interest them. Rabbi David Delman heads the Emet Fellowship team at Stony Brook University, with Rabbi Mordechai Kraft and Dr. Peryl Agishtein rounding out our team of accessible and inspiring Torah teachers.
The Stony Brook EMET Team
Dr. Peryl Agishtein: As a child living in New York City, Peryl Agishtein dreamed of becoming a National Geographic photojournalist, a ballerina, or a librarian (preferably for the library from Beauty and the Beast; and preferably all three at once). She was ultimately inspired to become a scientist and a psychologist by her parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Jacob Grossman, who imbued her with two key values of intellectual curiosity and a passion to help others. Her interest in biology and in the puzzle of assessment led her to pursue a specialization in neuropsychology, while her interests in interpersonal dynamics attracted her to attachment research. Her doctoral dissertation investigated how attachment to G-d interacts with everyday stress and anxiety; she was inspired to examine this idea by her Jewish faith and her deep belief in G-d, as well as years of philosophical discussions with her father. Peryl is currently the head of the Assessment Department in a local community clinic that primarily services the Jewish community. Peryl spends her free time with her husband and three children, and loves to hike, travel, photograph, and play piano (slightly better than her husband’s) whenever she has the opportunity. She tries not to psychoanalyze her children too much.
Rabbi Mordechai Kraft: Rabbi Kraft was born in Briarcliff Manor, NY and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Trinity College, Hartford, CT. He studied in Israel for four years and then continued his studies for over a decade at Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, The Rabbinical Seminary of America in Forest Hills, NY. Rabbi Kraft then received their prestigious “Yoreh Yoreh, Yadin Yadin” rabbinic ordination in 1999. Rabbi Kraft is fortunate to have studied under some of the foremost teachers of Torah of our generation, Rabbi Yaakov Rosenberg, Rabbi Moshe Chait, and Rabbi Henach Leibowitz, and to be inspired by their vision of love for every Jew. In 2004, Rabbi Kraft founded and has since directed Emet College Outreach, together with Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg. Rabbi Kraft’s love for teaching Torah and inspiring ethical growth in his students is only matched by their receptivity to his words. Rabbi Kraft has a passion to convey the inherent greatness of every human being. His lectures are both highly articulate and poignantly expressive. Rabbi Kraft has served as the Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Havurat Yisrael in Forest Hills, NY for 15 years and is a popular teacher at Ateret Seminary, on campus at Queens College. He is an aspiring blues guitarist and an avid tennis enthusiast. Rabbi Kraft, his wife, Monica, and their six children live in Kew Gardens, NY where they host many guests each Shabbos.
Rabbi Shlomo (Alex) Agishtein: Rabbi Shlomo was born in Moscow during the waning days of the U.S.S.R. He was fortunate enough to be born to parents whose intellectual and spiritual thirst brought them back to their Jewish heritage despite still living behind the Iron Curtain. Shlomo moved to the United States as a two-year-old immigrant. He grew up in the heart of the yeshiva world, in the then-small town of Lakewood, NJ. Shlomo learned from R’ Elya Svei and R’ Shmuel Kamenetzky at the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia while attending high school and beth medrash, and continued his studies in Israel before heading back to his hometown of Lakewood to pursue rabbinical ordination in Beth Medrash Govoha. The fledging Agishtein family then moved to Monsey where Shlomo joined Kollel Shaar Hashamayim, and focused on intensive Halachic study and rabbinical interning. Shlomo moved to Stony Brook to assume the position of Rabbi at the Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation and to join the Hillel as the Orthodox Rabbinic Fellow. In addition to his Torah studies, Shlomo enjoys the humanities and the classics. He is also interested in the technical and mathematical fields and is pursuing dual degrees in mathematics and computer science at Stony Brook University. Shlomo keeps busy by juggling his Torah teaching, rabbinical duties, his college courses, and his three rambunctious children (the kids have developed very thick skulls). In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, cooking, hiking, reading, and boxing.